"Sustained Through Suffering!" Romans 8:18-23

June 27, 2021
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

"The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?" David teaches us to trust only in the Lord Jesus Christ as we journey through this death shadowy world towards the "Land of the Living!" The Fourth Sunday after Trinity calls us to rejoice in our Father's mercy and live as blood bought children in Christ. The Holy Spirit sustains us in Christ-centered hope! Sermon Text: Romans 8:18-23. Sermon Theme: "Sustained Through Suffering!" Preached for the 4th Sunday After Trinity at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, Indiana by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.

Episode Notes

The Fourth Sunday After Trinity                                       27-June-2021
Sermon Text: Romans 8:18-23
Sermon Theme: “Sustained Through Suffering!” by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

I.N.R.I. “Psa 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” Elderly King David sings forth the truth that he had learned on the battlefield as a young man. He had learned that the Lord Jesus sustained his life there and as his eyes grew dim and his body grew weak with age the same Lord would lighten his way and be his strength. In the raves of old age, as conscience assailed him for all of his past sins - David would look only to the Lord Jesus and confess that His is “my” salvation! David could look past his present failing flesh ahead to the day of resurrection and confess: Psa 27:13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Adam’s sinful rebellion has made this world the land of sin and death. All through our lives we are walking in death’s shadowy valley. The land of the living awaits us. The Lord Jesus will there show us His goodness by raising our dusty corpses to new life - eternal life with Him. On that Day of resurrection all who trust in the Lord Jesus as their salvation shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. David teaches us to pray for patience in this Psalm: Psa 27:14 Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!”
    “Wait on the Lord Jesus.” Joseph learned to wait. As a young boy he had dreams of grandeur. He dreamt that his family would bow down to honor him. His dreams only fueled brotherly hatred. Though he was his father Jacob’s favorite son, his brothers beat him up and sold him into slavery. Joseph waited and being of good courage he humbled himself to slave for Potiphar. Falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife Joseph was thrown into prison for nineteen years. He had upheld the sixth commandment reserving sex only for the blessing of marriage - all he got from it was to be locked up. He waited on the Lord’s gracious will and perfect timing. The Lord was preparing Joseph through suffering to become a wise government official in Egypt. A ruler who would truly serve the people by heeding God’s warning and preparing for a future drought. In Genesis 50 we hear the rest of the story. After Jacob’s death Joseph’s brothers cower before him. They fear that their past sins will doom them to ill treatment by their brother. Joseph assures them that there will be no reparations. Gen 50:19-20 "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? (20) But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
The Lord God - Jesus Christ had sustained Joseph through suffering. He had used Joseph to sustain his family and the nation of Egypt suffering seven years of family. He will sustain you also. Learn well from St. Paul this morning that as Christians we are: “Sustained Through Suffering!”
      The apostle Paul knew suffering. He preached the cross of Christ crucified for sinners. He preached the truth that Jesus was raised from the dead to proclaim us “redeemed, restored, forgiven .... at peace with God.” The Lord Jesus told Ananias, whom He sent to baptize this Christian killer, Act 9:15-16 "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. (16) For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake." Saul of Tarsus was baptized and ordained into suffering for he would bear Jesus’ Name. “Receive the sign of the cross both upon your forehead and upon your heart to mark you as one redeemed by Christ the crucified.” You are marked men and women. At your baptism the Lord tattooed with His Holy Name and cross with water and His Word. Unseen by man, God clearly sees His children who bear His Name. Satan also sees you as one who has escaped his kingdom of darkness. The day you were baptized you declared war against the devil and his allies of the fallen mass of mankind, and even your own flesh. Your baptism marks you as sheep for the slaughter - you suffer.
        Your suffering is not alone. You are a member of Christ’s living body - the Church. Your suffering is not in vain or without purpose. (Vs.18) There is a future glory that will be revealed in you. It is now glimpsed in your baptism. Your sins are washed away with Christ’s blood. You are declared a beloved child of God the Father. Your body is now the temple of God the Holy Spirit who dwells in you. This is the truth of Christ’s Word and teaching. Now we don’t see it and our fleshly reason would drag us down into despair and other great shame and vice.
          What are the sufferings of this present time? Study the book of Romans. Satan has enslaved the majority in sin. Like the devil they twist the Scripture and say, “You can’t judge me for my lifestyle choice, for Jesus says, ‘Judge not and you shall not be judged.” Rejecting the truth that they are created by God they wallow in woke perversion, rebellion, lying, cheating, and hatred. Paul suffers among sinful men outside of the church: Rom 1:32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. Paul suffers among moralistic men who condemn others for sin, while they practice the same. Paul suffers within the Church by those who know the truth of God’s Word but never live the Ten Commandments to lovingly serve their neighbor in their daily lives.
He suffers among Christians who pervert the Gospel’s remission of sins into a permission for them to sin saying, "Let us do evil that good may come". Paul suffers in his own sinful flesh - the good he would do he doesn’t do - the evil he tries to avoid he practices. Looking inside all he sees is a wretched man in a body of death and chained by sin. The Lord Christ Jesus fixes his eyes on His cross and empty tomb - He is delivered only by God the Father through Jesus’ suffering and victory. He is made alive by God the Holy Spirit daily and richly applying to fruit of Christ’s cross forgiveness of sins. Assuring him that in Christ his life is hidden with God. Comforting him with the truth that salvation isn’t found in our good deeds, but only in Christ’s Jesus living flesh and blood - which bear the marks of our redemption.
        The suffering of this present time - may be evils of body and soul, possessions and reputation. We live as children of light in a sin darkened world. We stumble. We suffer. We easily lose hope. Look ahead! Christ Jesus is coming again. When He appears we shall be like Him. Bodies made perfect and freed from sin. Life in a world without sin, no longer plagued by Satan, filled with Christ’s perfect righteousness. We are not alone in this hope. (Vs.19) Creation itself waits eagerly for the day of Christ’s return. It waits for judgment day! To see the sons of God fully revealed. (Vs. 20-21). At the end of that first Friday of true history the Lord God proclaimed His creation was “very good.” For He had made all things without defect and crowned creation with a perfect man married to a perfect woman.
        Satan, the rebellious angel who had been cast out of heaven, sought to destroy God’s work. He lied and our first parents listened. They were going to be their own gods and make up the rules for themselves - Adam ate of the forbidden fruit and we died spiritually subjecting ourselves to physical death. The once perfect creation would not bring forth thorns and thistles instead of edible fruits from its fields. The sun now would have to shine on the just and unjust. The rain would fall to nourish the crops of sinner as well as saint. Creation’s gifts would be perverted and used to destroy human life rather than preserve it. Creation was subjected to futility. Now it would receive lifeless corpses again into its keeping to turn them to dust. Now its weather would turn destructive. Now its plants would yield poison, its insects become pests, its animals prey upon mankind and one another. Death darkened the life it was meant to bring forth.
          The Lord God subjected creation in hope. Hope that it too would be redeemed by the Creator’s blood poured out on Calvary. Jesus alone would make all things new. Now creation returns to see the fullness of its and our redemption that was won for us on that first Good Friday as Jesus stomped His foot into Satan’s lying and accusing mouth - forever crushing it by His death for us. Salvation proclaimed by death being broken three days later on Sunday morning.
          Creation groans (vs.22) It is like a pregnant woman groaning in childbirth - awaiting a new life to emerge from her womb. Creation too groans awaiting the life of the glorious liberty of the sons of God - that will break upon this fallen world on the Last Day. It will make the heavens and earth new again - filled with Christ the Creator’s perfect righteousness, restored in Christ’s innocence, and function eternally to serve Christ’s blessedness.
          You do not suffer alone. All of creation suffers with you dear child of the merciful Father. (Vs. 23) The first fruits of the Spirit were sealed upon you with water and Christ’s Word. You are declared new again - forgiven. You are strengthen with Christ’s living flesh and blood. Freed from sin to war against it putting it to death in your own members by Christ’s victory alone. We groan inwardly - we suffer - we may grow depressed - we are tempted to think all is lost - we are tempted to surrender our hope. Then we hear God the Father call us by name - “I baptize you in My Name!” “You are mine, I will save you” Christ Jesus claims you as His own and showers you with His victory. “Peace, you are forgiven” God the Holy Spirit comforts us within Christ’s Church daily and richly. He blesses us with His gifts - baptism, private absolution, the Lord’s Supper - fountains flowing with the sweet grace of forgiveness which pour from Jesus spear pierced side for sinners. For you and me.  
              Christ Jesus has won you completely. Your body and soul are reclaimed by your Creator to be His own. Now we wait sustained by suffering - we realize that our hope is not in what we do - but it is in Christ Jesus who has done all things for our salvation well! Our adoption day shall soon dawn. Jesus will return visible to all in His full glory. Our bodies will be raised from the dead, transformed in a twinkling of an eye, clothed with Christ’s incorruption, power, and glory. We shall be like Him. For now we wait, trusting our God’s good and gracious will as He keeps us in His Word and Faith under the cross leading us through death and the grave’s rest to life eternal. Amen.

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